Silly Lists

San Antonio nets spot on fishy list of most underrated food cities

San Antonio nets spot on fishy list of most underrated food cities

Ray's Drive Inn puffy tacos
Puffy tacos are said to be San Antonio's signature snack. Photo courtesy of Two Fat Bellies

A website called Tasting Table has included San Antonio in a listicle called "American's Most Underrated Food Cities," advising readers to eat their way through these "under-the-radar culinary gems."

Under whose radar, they do not say, but the inclusion on this list is something for which San Antonio should be grateful. Getting recognition from a national website, especially one based in the all-important city of New York, is always a feather in any flyover city's cap.

But before you pop the champagne, some scrutiny of said list is warranted.

The piece begins: "There's nothing we love more than eating our way through a fantastic food city, indulging in the Michelin-starred hot spots and local haunts that put our chosen destination on the global map. But from Rust Belt fine dining to seafood shacks down south, there's more to this country than blockbuster cities and their tourist traps."

That's some wordsmithing. It lets you know that No. 1, 1 San Antonio has no Michelin-starred hot spot and is therefore not a culinary destination, and No. 2, alternatively, that people who flock to Michelin-starred restaurants are dumb tourists.

San Antonio joins a list of underrated food cities that includes such blazing metropolises as Boise, Cleveland, Honolulu, Jersey City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, and Omaha.

If you read the San Antonio blurb, you get a sense of the mindset:

"Coming in right alongside little brother Dallas, Alamo City is an equally important stop for anyone gearing up to eat and drink their way through Texas. Take advantage of the state's ample cattle country at Bohanan's Prime Steaks, an OG upscale staple with more awards than you can shake a finger at, or reserve a highly coveted seat at Mixtli's chef's table, where lucky diners make their way through a progressive Mexican tasting menu prepared by Rico Torres and Diego Galicia, both of whom made Food & Wine's 2017 Best New Chefs list. Alternatively, you could always keep it casual with a bagful of meaty tacos wrapped in fluffy, deep-fried corn tortillas (the city's signature snack) at Henry's Puffy Tacos, or drop into the historic Pearl Brewery, a sprawling network of approximately 2 zillion shops, restaurants and bars sure to please any palate."

Yikes, who wrote this? The author listed is Tasting Table editor Meredith Heil, a resident of Brooklyn. Certain phrases jump out. Let us deconstruct.

1. "Coming in right alongside little brother Dallas..." So San Antonio, your entire perspective as a city is that you are bigger than Dallas. You must be so proud.

2. After summarizing San Antonio as a place to get steak, Mexican, and tacos, it recommends Pearl Brewery, a place that's "sure to please any palate." In other words, the place in San Antonio that has non-Mexican food.

3. Doesn't the description of puffy tacos sound as if it was written by someone who has never eaten them? A "bagful of meaty tacos wrapped in fluffy, deep-fried corn tortillas (the city's signature snack)."

4. And lastly: "... an equally important stop for anyone gearing up to eat and drink their way through Texas." San Antonio is apparently only a place you want to drive through.